David and I love Epcot, mainly because we love World Showcase. We think that World Showcase is Epcot’s bright spot, a shining example of what a theme park should be, when it’s living up to it’s full potential. While we enjoy certain aspects of Future World, we think it’s in need of some TLC, and view it mainly as a pass-time until World Showcase opens. (it opens several hours later than the rest of the park). We are eaters around the world, we are drinkers around the world, we are Maelstrom-mourners, Flower and Garden attenders, and Food and Wine Festival lovers. What can we say? David & Laura + World Showcase = True Love Foreva. We don’t think that all the countries in World Showcase are created equal though – this is not a land of equality. We think some are significantly better than others, so, in our completely biased and one sided opinions, we have ranked them for your reading pleasure.
It was very hard choosing someone to put in last place. But for us, while the architecture is beautiful in the Japan pavilion, this country is nothing but a place to stop in some fun gift shops, and watch the fireworks from our favorite viewing spot. We don’t enjoy any of the restaurants here, and there isn’t any rides or movies to boost its ranking.
We’re tempted to put Morocco higher, just because it’s such a beautiful pavilion, and has great eateries, with unique foods that we love. It lacks entertainment that we think will appeal to the WHOLE family though, which is why it earns the second to last spot.
America is without a doubt the least imagination, or beautiful of any of the countries (sorry, we love you U.S.A.!). It also is the only country that doesn’t have a sit-down restaurant. So why are we giving it a higher ranking that other countries? Well, for starters, it has ‘The American Adventure’, which we think is a not to be missed show telling a highly glossed over, but still moving history of our country. Secondly, this is where they have the Candlelight Processional every year, which is one of our favorite Holiday traditions.
The Italy pavilion does an amazing job of marrying some of the countries most iconic architecture in a truly stunning, immersive country. With two full service restaurants and a tucked away wine bar, the only thing we dock points for is a lack of entertainment, and a lack of quick-service restaurants. Note – walk down to the water and check out the tied up gondolas that were originally meant for an attraction that got scrapped. How cool would that have been?!
China is beautiful, with iconic architecture, ponds, and gardens throughout. They also have several fun gift-shops that will appeal to all ages, and a not to be missed 360 degree film, showing off the beauty and culture of the country.
We have always loved Norway, ever since the Maelstrom days. We love the mix of architecture styles, and the overall feeling of quaintness. We know this might be a controversial opinion, but we think the addition of ‘Frozen Ever After’ will do nothing but good things for this pavilion. We also can’t help but rank any country highly that has a bakery that sells school bread.
Mexico has a lot going for it. Their gift shops are creatively arranged like an open air market place, inside a pyramid, under a faux-night sky. They have a boat ride instead of a film. They have two solid table service options, as well as a place to get quick service food. And then there’s the crowd favorite – La Cava Del Tequila, the specialty margarita place that will make you the best south of the border cocktail you’ve ever had.
Germany is always a good time. It always feel like a cross between Oktoberfest and Christmas when you visit this charming pavilion. While they might not have entertainment, a trip to Biergarten features a live German band, family style seating, and a cultural experience you won’t soon forget.
3. United Kingdom
We love this country for everything it isn’t. It’s not a bustling London, or Tower Bridge. It’s a soft, small feeling, English hamlet, complete with tea stores, neighborhood pub, and a store with a thatched roof. The charm here is in the details – the British cover band, the walk up stand selling fish & chips, and the English toy shop. We love coming here just to sit and enjoy.
In many ways, the Canada pavilion manages to feel like several pavilions in one. They have a replica Butchart Gardens, a miniature Niagara Falls, representation of Native Tribes, and a village made of stone. They also have a circle vision 360 film with beautiful views, that’s narrated by Martin Short. If you’re wanting a romantic meal, head over to Le Cellier, for a great steak, and a wine cellier like ambiance. All in all, the Canada pavilion wins big.
France is our number one World Showcase Country, and probably the pavilion we spend the most time in. We think it’s a perfect representation of what a World Showcase Country could be when living up to it’s full potential. It has multiple great eating locations. Whether you want a reasonably priced table service meal at Le Chefs de France, or an extravagant, romantic affair at Monsieur Paul, there’s something for everyone. They also have great places to grab a quick bite, with the incredibly popular French bakery, and ice-cream shop, which both feel like they’ve been tucked away in a back corner, for you to just stumble upon. The country features charming street performers, as well as an amazing film, that evokes some of the most beautiful imagery we’ve seen of France. The pavilion is charming, romantic, and well rounded – we give it two thumbs up!
We would like to reiterate that our favorite countries in no way have to be your favorite. We started our list by saying that our opinions are highly biased because they’re, well, ours. We all have different, special, magical memories of the Disney Theme Parks, and it makes different things special and important to us. With that said, if you have limited time on your trip to Disney, we hope our list helps make where you spend your time a little easier.